By: Angela Spain, 2019 Student Conservation Association’s New Hampshire AmeriCorps Member
Since arriving at Bear Brook State Park, I have noticed that the park is full of all sorts of interesting things that are either natural or man-made. Hiking in Bear Brook allows you to discover some cool things you wouldn’t expect! Two weekends ago, I decided to set off on a long hike from Spruce Pond camp to the Lost Trail, hoping to see some interesting wildlife and get in shape. I’m a conservation steward, which means I will be doing a lot of manual labor starting in May. Before “con season” starts, I’m hoping to gain a little muscle so I can transition into trail work without too much trouble, and I was hoping this hike would help me feel a little more athletic.
I started the hike at 12:30 by heading to Lynx Trail. To get there I cut across frozen Beaver Pond and went up a super steep hill that intersects with the trail. From then on, hiking Lynx Trail was pretty enjoyable! I liked that much of it was uphill since it made me feel like I was exercising and there were some nice views further up on the trail. On the way, I saw some cool things off-trail: an old rock wall that was at least 50 feet long, and a huge fallen tree with its whole root system exposed! Toward the end of the trail, I also saw a woodpecker hammering on a tree.
At the end of Lynx Trail I turned right and walked down the Podunk Rd trail for what seemed like an hour. I wanted to turn left onto the Hall Mountain Marsh Trail at some point, but somehow I missed it (because I’m bad at following maps). Instead, I kept walking straight until I reached a junction that led to the Bear Hill cabins.
After walking around the cabins for a while, I found something weird: an egg! The fact that I found an egg wasn’t very odd, but the location of the egg was confusing. It was sitting inside one of those semicircle-shaped hangers that people wrap garden hoses around. There wasn’t any nest material in the hose holder, just the egg. It was also a pretty large egg, bigger than the chicken eggs we have at the lodge! I still don’t know what laid the egg, but some people have suggested it was a turkey or a hawk. Either way, it was the most interesting thing I saw during my hike.
After I found the egg, I kept walking down Ferret Trail, which was cool because it included some areas where timber had recently been cut by foresters. These places were wide open and covered with snow, and large swaths of forest were visible from the top of a large boulder I found. This trail was also used frequently by people riding snowmobiles, so I saw a lot more people in the park than I was accustomed to seeing.
When I finished the Ferret Trail, I hiked a small part of the Lost Trail before returning to the Spruce Pond area. By the time I started back the sun was already close to setting, so I had to hike the last leg in the dark for about an hour. On the way, I was very tired and thirsty since I hadn’t brought enough water, and my feet were soaked from the snow in my hiking shoes. I was happy to get back to the lodge and show everyone my pictures of everything I’d seen in the park, and to finally eat some food after 6.5 hours!
My hike in Bear Brook State Park was fantastic, and I would encourage anyone who is interested in getting some exercise or finding some compelling things in the woods to take a hike in Bear Brook or any other New Hampshire State Park! There are a lot of cool things to find, whether they be historical, natural, or completely out of the ordinary.